If you’re looking for arty calendars, magnets or glossy coffee-table books, museum gift shops have always been a good place to start. But these days, the shops inside Houston museums are more than just knickknack emporiums—they are bustling businesses that stock educational, interesting and design-forward products from local artisans and obscure vendors from around the world, all while giving members a sweet discount. Here’s what’s in store now.
1. KNOTTY BY NATURE
Michigan artist Elizabeth Delyria’s stoneware vases look so much like actual birch logs that viewers might have to see the smooth, hollow interior to believe they’re not actually wood; $125-$195 at Asher Gallery in the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft.
2. SUPER BOWLS
Houstonian John Zuber has taken wood from fallen trees—including some from the grounds of the MFAH—and spun them into a series of stunning bowls and plates; $130-$325 at Bayou Bend.
3. PROP ART
Made from resin, these balloon-animal bookends in vibrant orange and purple are not only cute, they’re deceptively solid; $40 at Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston.
4. LOCAL GEMS
Chalcedony and citrine drop earrings by Houstonbased Rocks by Chaz; $100-$155 at Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
5. WRAP IT UP
Houstonian Sarah Stewart designs the patterns on her gauzy, wearall-year scarves and works with fair-trade cooperatives in Indonesia that handbatik or hand-loom the fabric; $40-140 at Houston Museum of Natural Science.
6. TOKYO ROSE
Maya Branman uses vintage acetate flowers imported from Japan in the 1950s and turns them into colorful, whimsical, modern
jewelry; $30-$180 at Asher Gallery in the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft.
7. FLAT-OUT COOL
If you ever dreamed of cartoons coming to life, you’ll obsess over Jump From Paper’s quirky laptop and tablet bags, which are designed to look like flat drawings; $99-$109 at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston.
8. BLOCKED IN
This block lamp, by Design House Stockholm, showcases design that subverts expectations; $72-$132 at Contemporary Arts
9. BOOK IT
The Menil Collection’s Cy Twombly Gallery is one of the most impressive spaces devoted to a single artist in the world, so it’s only fitting that the Montrose museum, with Yale University Press and the Twombly Foundation, has published a new book devoted to the gallery and its 33 paintings and 11 sculptures. The tome also includes essays by Carol Mancusi-Ungaro and former Menil Collection director Paul Winkler; $65 at the Menil Bookstore.
10. PRETTY IN PEACE
Houstonian Rebecca Lankford’s jewelry, from delicate charms to gemstone earrings, always manages to look both simple and sweet. Leather peace bracelet; $140 at Houston Museum of Natural Science.
11. THE WRITE STUFF
Embrace Picasso’s unorthodox take on form and perspective with Morph notepads that twist and stretch; $11.95-$18.95 in the “Picasso Black and White” exhibit gift shop at Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
-By Sarah Rufca